How an Instagram Story is Crashing Smartphones on Opening It

Instagram is a funny place and there is one Instagram story doing rounds of this place crashing phones that open it. Know all about it here.

Boudhaditya Sanyal
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The Internet is going crazy after an Instagram story from an account is crashing the phones of whoever opens it. There are multiple articles and news stories and some people have also made videos about how to deal with it and avoid it.



The Instagram account with the name of pgtalal has two Instagram stories uploaded on its highlights and on clicking them, you will have different experiences on depending on the device that you have. On android devices, after opening the story, you will see a purple screen with confetti going around the song "your love" being played in the background. The weird part about the story is that it can not be paused by holding your finger down on the story. It might seem like you have lost control over your phone. However, if you open the same story on your iOS devices, you will see a grey screen with some arabic texts and your phone will be unresponsive. So how can an Instagram story have so much power? Is it an attempt of hacking people,  getting their details or just taking down Instagram?

Who is Behind It?


The account named pgtalal is not trying to hide anything from the users on Instagram. He is inviting people to click on them and trying them. There are regular updates about how many views the story has gotten making it look like an achievement. The user has also created new crashes since the initial two stories. This is only possible for a full stacked developer to do something like this, someone who can build the frontend as well as the backend of a piece of software. He has become one of the fastest growing new accounts on Instagram. He made a post with 2 million views before it was deleted.

How is it Done?

The general consensus on the internet is that if you have an iPhone, stay clear but if you have an android device, you are good. Which is not really true. If the stories are viewed on a high-end android phone like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, it looks fine but a mid-ranger like Xiaomi or Nokia struggle with the stories. A really cheap old android phone would just crash. The phone would not even open the story and since the moment the story was clicked on, the phone could not do anything. The reason behind all of this is that these stories require incredible processing power and RAM which is not seen very often in budget phones. This also makes sense of why all the iPhones are crashing because even the latest iPhone is capped at 6 GB of RAM.


Why Is It Crashing the Phones?

If the stories are viewed on Instagram web, the inspect option shows that there is tons and tons of data that is being collected through these stories. There are multiple stickers on Instagram that allow users to put on a countdown or a quiz but these are very light and do not collect much data. However, on the stories of pgtalal the size of these stickers is enormous. There are 2 stickers, one is a countdown that ends on 23 October 2020 and the other is a quiz that has the letter "R" as the question and 3 random letters as options. You can not see them on the stories as they are hidden. The normal size of an Instagram story on the X and Y axis is somewhere between 0 and 1. The size of pgtalal's story has 18 digits meaning that it can spread across to a number of phones that are not even used in the entire world, somewhere around quadrillions. The image of the quiz and the countdown are so large that if you were to zoom out to look at the whole thing, it would be multiple times bigger than the size of the earth. The reason why the screen on android on opening the story is purple is because you are seeing a small zoomed-in part of the timer and the confetti is what Instagram shows when the countdown has ended.

The account has used something called HTTP Proxy that modifies the data coming out before it hits the Instagram server. Instead of the story being directly sent to the Instagram server, he has tweaked it with this proxy. Where the size and the location value has been changed to be astronomical. These numbers can be dealt with some high-end smartphones, but it is best to stay away from stories like these on the internet.

Refrain from opening the story and watching it in an attempt to verify the information. Keep your smartphones safe.

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